Homicide: voluntary manslaughter (loss of control and diminished…
Homicide: voluntary manslaughter (loss of control and diminished responsibility)
Unlawful killing of another reasonable human being under the Queen's Peace - Coke
Killing an enemy soldier in battle (unlikely to come up)
"Advancement of justice" - i.e. death penality (don't have this anymore so unlikely to come up)
Self-defence (mention in defences section of essay)
Result offence - requires factual and legal causation
Reasonable person - born alive and capable of independent life
R v Poulton
A-G's Reference (No 3 of 1994)
R v Reeves
Queen's peace - matter of jurisdiction - can occur anywhere in the world if the defendant and/or the victim is a British citizen
Intention to kill or cause GBH
Only need to intend to cause serious harm - R v Vickers
Only discuss oblique intent if it comes up in the facts
Full defence - self-defence
Partial defences - if acquitted of murder still guilty of voluntary manslaughter
Loss of control
Loss of control
Previous defence of provocation abolished October 2010 - new defence of loss of control with Coroners and Justice Act 2009
Effect of defence
If defence operates, defendant is cleared of murder but not fully acquitted - becomes guilty of voluntary manslaughter s54(7)
Burden of proof
On the prosecution to disprove (s54(5)&(6)
Relevance of previous law
R v Clinton, Parker & Evans - 3 separate cases heard together in the Court of Appeal - important judgement
Elements of the defence - analyse sequentially - prosecution only needs to disprove one element
Did the defendant kill another person as a result of losing control? (s53(1)(a)
Loss of control need not be complete, but must be unable to restraint himself - R v Richens
s54(2) - "it does not matter if the loss of control was not sudden"
R v Ahluwalia - defence failed both because of time delay (not sufficient alone but the longer the delay, the more likely it will negative the defence) and evidence of planning
s54(4) - no defence if "acted in a considered desire for revenge"
Did the loss of control have a qualifying trigger? (s54(1)(b)
s55 - two qualifying triggers identified - the facts of a case may mean that both qualifying triggers apply but still distinct (Dawes) (s55(5))
Fear of serious violence - s55(3)
Did the defendant subjectively fear serious violence from the victim aimed at him or another?
R v Martin (Anthony) - old law case - self-defence not allowed because shot burgler in the back while they were leaving - caused contention - now the fear of harm need not be immediate
Serious violence - R v Clinton
S55(4) - two requirements
Things said or done that "constitute circumstances of an extremely grave character" - s55(4)(a) AND
Test in R v Clinton - objective - stressed requirement for circumstances to be of an extremely grave character and a sense of being seriously wronged
Jonathan Herring: "the circumstances facing D must have been unusual, and not part of the normal trials and disappointments of life"
Dennis Baker and Lucy Zhao in Journal of Criminal Law - must confirm with contemporary British society's norms and values
Example of honour killer - not allowed
Example of catching paedophile teacher molesting child - second-hand word of act would still have same objective provocative effect as witnessing
Which "caused D to have a justifiable sense of being seriously wronged" - s55(4)(b)
Explanatory notes - set a high threshold - old law criticised for being too easy to achieve
Events that cannot qualify as a trigger
Fear of violence caused by something defendant incited to be done - s55(6)(a)
Aka where defendant created the situation - provoking a response to give them an excuse to kill - hard to prove and more than fighting etc. - R v Dawes, Hatter and Bowyer
Sense of being seriously wronged caused by something defendant invited to be done - s55(a)(b)
Sexual infidelity - s55(6)(a)
Clinton - questions of what amounts to infidelity and in the context of what relationship - here trial judge took the option away from the jury and said couldn't be a defence - Court of Appeal disagreed as also triggered by taunting, thoughts of what would happen to children etc.
Where infidelity is the sole reason for acting, the defence fails - where it is party of a wider picture, the judge can consider all the evidence, including infidelity
Under old law required definite act or words with no analyse of the quality of the trigger - not it is the other way around
Might "another person" have acted in the same or similar way? (s54(1)(c) - sexual infidelity rules apply here)
Old law talked about "reasonable person" problems arise from this as arguably reasonable people don't kill
"A person of D's age and sex"
"In the circumstances of D"
Reference to all of D's circumstances other than those whose only relevance to D's conduct is that they bear on D's general capacity for tolerance or self-restraint" - s54(3)
"With a normal degree of tolerance and self-restraint"
Loss of control and intoxication - R v Asmelash
Can use when drunk
Will not assist if the only relevant is to tolerance and self-restraint - s54(3)
If connected to the qualifying trigger, will be taken into account in assessing it
History - created by Homicide Act 1957 s2 - amended by CJA 2009 s52
Burden of proof - on the defence - balance of probabilities
4 elements - R v Golds (2016) - all must be satisfied
Was the defendant suffering from an abnormality of mental functioning?
No clear definition in legislation - acknowledged as easier to grasp than define
R v Byrne - state of mind so different from that of the ordnary that a reasonable person would term it abnormal - aka different from the normal
Need practical evidence
Which arsies from a recognised medical condition?
Modernisation of language in CJA emphasised need for medical evidence - condition must be recognised by doctors, not the law - specific medical manuals
R v Dowds - 'acute intoxication' - was medically recognised but went against normal rules of intoxication as defence - Court of Appeal reviews and said that the changes to the Act were not intended to change legal stance on voluntary intoxication - established that recognition of condition alone won't lead to defence
Can be phsyical or psychological condition
Which substantially impairs the defendant's ability to do certain things?
To undertand the nature of his conduct, or...
To form a rational judgement, or...
To exercise self-control
Golds - impairment must be caused by the abnormality of mental functions - addressed meaning of "substantial" - said was a word that wouldn't usually need explanation, but if jury do need guidance, it means "appreciable"
Distinction between insanity - where someone can't understand anything - and normal state of mind - this falls somewhere in between - the person has some idea of what they're doing and that it is wrong, but is unable to control it or understand why it's wrong
And which provides an explanation for the defendant's acts and omissions in killing?
Role of medical experts v jury - R v Brennan confirmed in R v Golds - doctors can comment on all four elements of the defence - where experts disagree, jury must decide between them - where expert evidence is unopposed in supporting defence, the jury should only reject if there is evidence to support a different conclusion
Aka in Brennan there was some evidence of planning
Intoxication independent of the abnormality of mental functioning
R v Deitchmann - go through all four elements and decide if diminished responsibility was a substantial element - doesn't have to be the main one
Intoxication linked to the abnormality of the mind - aka alcoholism
R v Tandy - traditionally harsh view - every drink taken must be linked to the condition
R v Wood and R v Stewart - essentially the same as Deitchmann - alcohol assists in answering the stages
R v Stewart - ask...
Is there evidence of abnormality of mental functioning?
Is there a medical cause for this?
Does the abnormality impair the defendant's abilities?
In explanation stage, jury to consider...
Extent/seriousness of the defendant's dependency
Extent to which ability to control drinking reduced
Whether he was capable of abstinence and if so...
For how long
Whether he was choosing to drink for some particular reason to get drunk or to drink more than usual
The more evidence there is that they are in control, the less chance there is of a defene - look at pattern of drinking in days leading up to the incident - all the evidence and if it suggests an inability to control themselves, defence may succeed